Exploring Pakistan with Kids: Part 3 -Kohala & Khewra Salt Mine

After Part 1  and Part 2 of the trip, where we explored Islamabad, Bhurban, Ayubia and Nathia, its time for Part 3. But let’s do a little recap of our itinerary and what we have covered so far.


Our 10 Day itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Islamabad

Day 2: Explore Islamabad (Faisal Mosque, Monal)

Day 3: Drive to Bhurban and check in to hotel

Day 4: Day trip to Nathiagali and Ayubia

Day 5: Day trip to Neelum River and drive back to Islamabad

Day 6: Explore Islamabad (Lok Virsa Museum, Saidpur Village)

Day 7: Drive to Lahore via Khewra Salt Mines

Day 8: Explore Lahore (Lahore Fort, Badshahi Mosque, Wagah Border, Food Street)

Day 9: Explore Lahore (Walled City of Lahore, MM Alam Road and Liberty Market)

Day 10: Back home.


Part 3 is based on two stopovers we took during our drives to Islamabad and Lahore. The first one was on Day 5, which was a detour that we did from Bhurban to have a little lunch stop over at Neelum River near Kohala, en route to Islamabad. And the second one was on Day 7, on our drive from Islamabad to Lahore at Kehwra Salt Mines.


Neelum Point, Kohala

Kohala Point also known as Neelum Point is a very famous spot among tourists as it is about 40-minute drive from PC Bhurban. It is the point where a small tributary of Neelum River (of Kashmir) merges in the Jhelum River.

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Jhelum River and the restaurant on the tributary of Neelum River

Although the distance isn’t much, the road which goes towards it is very narrow and extremely busy, which can make the journey much longer. We actually got stuck in traffic because of an accident on the road, but as soon as we reached there we all forgot about how long it took us to get there! We had hired the same minivan from the hotel to take us to Islamabad with a detour at Kohala.DSCF3432It was one of the coolest experiences EVER- not only for the kids but even for me! Sitting on a chaarpai, with our feet dipped in the refreshingly cold water and having fresh fried trout right from the river!

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Fresh fried trout, that everyone enjoyed!

The food there wasn’t very cheap (as you would expect in a dhabba style situation), but it was still extremely busy and definitely worth it!

DSCF3412Since we reached there late (due to the traffic jam), we couldn’t stay there for long but my little one had so much fun, he said while leaving…

“Mama, I want to have lunch here tomorrow as well…”

P.S. Do take an extra pair of clothing for the kids, cause mine came out soaking wet! They had so much fun playing in the shallow water.


Khewra Salt Mine

Khewra Salt mine is located in the town of Khewra, about 2 hours drive from Islamabad while going towards Lahore. Since we planned to stop there on our way to Lahore, we hired a private coaster to drive us to Lahore instead of taking the Daweoo or Q-connect buses.

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The Salt Range – highly rich in minerals and salts

Some facts (source Wikipedia): It is Pakistan’s largest, the world’s 2nd largest and the oldest salt mine in the worldIt is a major tourist attraction, drawing up to 250,000 visitors a year. Its history dates back to its discovery by Alexander’s troops in 320 BC, but it started trading in the Mughal era. The main tunnel at ground level was developed in 1872 during British rule. After independence, the Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation took over the mine, which still remains the largest source of salt in the country, producing more than 350,000 tons per annum of about 99% pure halite. Estimates of the reserves of salt in the mine vary from 82 million tons to 600 million tons.

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Entering the main mine

We took a detour on the Motorway towards the town of Khewra and drove through the small town to reach the salt mine. A train takes you inside the mine, which is on 17 levels!!

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Walls made of salt bricks that glow with light

When you enter the mine, there are tour guides who give you a guided tour of the mine. It was as fascinating for us as much as it was for the kids – if not more!

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Reflections in salty water pools…

The Crystal Palace is on another level of the mine and has a beautiful entrance made with salt bricks. It is a tunnel with crystals in the wall and roof, illuminated by colourful lights.

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Entrance to the Crystal Palace
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Crystal Palace from the inside.

There is also a visitors centre where there is a mosque made of salt bricks. It is the world’s only salt mosque.

There is also a miniature Minar-e-Pakistan built with salt bricks in the visitors centre.

DSCF3829It was a totally mesmerizing experience! Having lived all my life in Pakistan, it was a shame that I had never visited this gem! Its an absolute MUST visit!

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Standing on a salt bridge in the mine in awe of this wonder!

 

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The entrance to the Crystal Palace

 


We had a great experience with these two amazing stopovers we took on our journey. Would highly recommend them!

And that brings us to the end of this part, to read the next part, click here

If you missed the previous parts of this trip, you can read them here.

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